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History of the Garden Gnome

When Sir Charles Isham brought 21 terracotta garden gnomes to England to decorate his 90-foot rockery in 1847, he created a sensation in the United Kingdom for bearded garden helpers. Sir Charles had found the statues in Nuremberg, Germany, a country steeped in the folklore of gnomes, trolls, fairies and other forest folk, where they are known to be cheery, if not slightly mischievous, creatures who offered late night assistance in gardens and the protection of property. As early as the 1600s, garden statuary in Europe had evolved to include a key figure known as gobbi, Italian for “dwarf” or “hunchback.” In 19th-century Germany, these diminutive men with pointed hats, rotund bellies, and white beards became known as Gartenzwerge (garden dwarfs… read more >

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